Rockies keep postseason hopes alive
DENVER Livan Hernandez purchased six $400 bottles of Cristal to toast the Arizona Diamondbacks’ NL West title Saturday night.As for the Rockies? They’re just glad their season isn’t toast. Colorado stayed in the hunt for a postseason spot with an 11-1 win over Arizona.”It’s been a great ride,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”The Diamondbacks clinched their fourth division title and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs before they even took the field thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers’ come-from-behind win over San Diego earlier in the day.The Brewers’ 11-inning win also kept Colorado’s postseason hopes afloat. The Rockies still need help to earn their first playoff spot since 1995. They have to beat Arizona on Sunday and hope the Padres falter against the Brewers, and that just gets them a tiebreaker game.”There’s a lot of Brewers fans in here right now,” Brad Hawpe said. “We’re pulling for them right now. But all we can really control is us.”Troy Tulowitzki hit his first career grand slam, Matt Holliday had a two-run double and Garrett Atkins drove in two runs for Colorado. Holliday said he plans on wearing a Brewers T-shirt to the park Sunday.”It’s going to be exciting,” said Holliday, who finished 2-for-4 to raise his average to an NL-leading .340. “It makes you feel a little bit more fresh when these games mean something.”As for sleep, it’s not going to come easy to the Rockies.”Everybody is going to be dreaming about baseball tonight,” Hawpe said. “We’ll be waking up to baseball dreams.”Hernandez showed up with the bottles of expensive bubbly to commemorate the Diamondbacks’ season. He and manager Bob Melvin exchanged toasts to the team.”It is appropriate that we have a toast to this club,” Melvin said. “A loss like this we can obviously overcome it.”Hernandez also gave a separate bottle of Cristal to Melvin.”This is a present to the best manager in the National League,” Hernandez said. “The bottle I gave him is the best.”Tulowitzki’s grand slam in the fifth was his 24th homer of the season. The capacity crowd cheered wildly until he sheepishly poked his head out of the dugout after the drive and tipped his cap.The NL rookie of the year candidate has never had a curtain call before.”I was getting some water and hanging out and the crowd kept on getting louder,” Tulowitzki said. “Todd (Helton) told me to go out there and I listened. It’s one I’ll always remember.”Mark Redman (2-4) went five innings for Colorado, giving up seven hits and one unearned run. He’s now 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in five appearances since being called up by the Rockies on Sept. 7 from Triple-A Colorado Springs.Redman worked his way out of jams in the second and third by enticing Arizona to hit into inning-ending double plays.Edgar Gonzalez (8-4) lasted just three innings, surrendering five runs and six hits. He also walked a season-high four batters.”We didn’t have our best game,” Melvin said. “Yet we accomplished what we set out to get. What we accomplished tonight overshadows the loss.”Melvin is already thinking ahead to the playoffs. He’s resting Chris Young, Eric Byrnes and Chris Snyder on Sunday. He’ll also start Yusmeiro Petit instead of Doug Davis, saving him for the postseason.”Our clubhouse was jubilant,” Melvin said. “We’re so happy.”It’s an emotion the Rockies are hoping to experience. But they realize there’s work to do, and some of it is out of their hands.”Anything’s possible,” Tulowitzki said.Especially after watching Milwaukee’s Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a tying, two-out triple off Trevor Hoffman in the ninth. The Rockies watched it on the big screen in their clubhouse and roared to life after Gwynn’s hit. Holliday, sitting on the edge of a couch, pumped his fist in celebration.The Rockies carried the enthusiasm onto the field, scoring four times in the first inning.”Our goal every game is scoring early,” Hawpe said. “We get to the guys before their command is right. It helps. That’s been a big key for us.”The Brewers’ comeback definitely lifted the Rockies’ spirits.”They gave us some energy,” Tulowitzki said. “You see the excitement out there on our faces.”Colorado rookie Ubaldo Jimenez will get the ball in the final game for the biggest start of his career.”I’m ready,” said Jimenez, who was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 17. “I know it’s important. But it’s a game. It’s going to be a good game.”Jimenez had a relaxing time Saturday, even going to his first college football game. He saw the first half of Colorado’s upset win over third-ranked Oklahoma, before leaving to get to the ballpark.”I had fun,” Ubaldo said with a smile.He’s hoping to say the same thing after his start Sunday.
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